November 28, 2023

What Does Religion Look Like in Hollywood?

Prominent Hollywood actor, writer, and producer Rainn Wilson discusses his Baha’i faith, the skepticism about religion in Hollywood, and why he thinks the country is due for a spiritual reawakening. 

In This Episode...

Widely known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, Emmy Award nominee Rainn Wilson talks about his new book ‘Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution,’ the future of religion and spiritual themes in Hollywood, and the spirituality of his famous character Dwight Schrute.

About Rainn Wilson

Rainn Percival Dietrich Wilson is an American actor, comedian, podcaster, producer, writer, and director — widely known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office (2005–2013), for which he earned three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Other film credits include lead roles in the comedies The Rocker (2008) and Super (2010), as well as supporting roles in the horror films Cooties (2014) and The Boy (2015). In 2009, he provided his voice for the computer-animated science fiction film Monsters vs. Aliens as the villain Gallaxhar and voiced Gargamel in Smurfs: The Lost Village. He has played a small recurring role of Harry Mudd on Star Trek: Discovery (2017) and Star Trek: Short Treks (2018), as well as a supporting role in The Meg (2018). He is also the voice of Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Movie Universe. Outside of acting, Wilson published an autobiography, The Bassoon King, in 2015 and co-founded the digital media company SoulPancake in 2008.

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What Does Religion Look Like in Hollywood?


Eboo Patel: This is the Interfaith America Podcast, and I’m Eboo Patel. 


[00:00:12] Eboo: You probably know him as Dwight Schrute of the acclaimed TV comedy series The Office, but Rainn Wilson is also the author of several books that explore spirituality, most recently Soul Boom, Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution. 

Rainn is also one of the most high profile Bahá’í s’ in the United The Bahá’í faith has millions of members worldwide and encourages ideals like the oneness of humanity, the harmony of science and religion, and individual investigation of truth. 

Before we get into your book, Rainn, I want to ask about the spirituality of Dwight’s Schrute. Is there a spirituality of Rainn Wilson that animates whatever spirituality there might be in Dwight, Raccoon Hunter, and the variety of other things that Dwight did on that show? 

[00:01:04] Rainn Wilson: First of all, thanks for having me. Thrilled to be here, Eboo. I love the work that you and the organization do. Happy, proud to be a part of it. It’s really important work. It’s very easy to focus on the differences of various faith traditions, and in the doing create schisms and disunity between them. 

By focusing on commonality, we can unite and do necessary work shoulder to shoulder, side by side with sleeves rolled up. That’s what you are all about. I appreciate that so much. 

The spirituality of Dwight Schrute, I guess for me, being an artist is being part-entertainer. People have tough lives and if I can make them laugh and bring a little bit of joy, as we all did on the cast of The Office, then that’s a great service. 

Also, being an artist is emulating the divine. I know this sounds kind of highfalutin, but it’s true that there wasn’t a character named Dwight Schrute before I played Dwight Schrute. 

[00:02:09] Eboo: Yes, you’re a creator. 

[00:02:10] Rainn: I’m a creator, I’m a fashioner, God is the fashioner, I think he’s called in the Koran. The creation of art in the Bahá’í tradition is the same as prayer. Being an artist, being of service, making people laugh, entertaining them, filling their lives with beauty is about as great a service as anyone can do. 

[00:02:31] Eboo: Somewhere around the middle of the book, you tell the story of having lunch with a writer friend and you’re talking about the positive role that religion plays in your life in the world and this individual thinks you’re speaking Swahili on Mars. 

Just does not understand. Thinks about religion as somewhere between irrelevant and evil and when you say religion actually comes in part from the Latin root religere, which means to bind and what religion at its best does is it binds people to one another. 

It kind of blows this person’s mind. I’m sure you remember that scene because you wrote it and you lived it. I’m curious if you could just reflect on that and how frequent of an experience that is for you as a committed person of faith, a Bahá’í in Hollywood. 

[00:03:18] Rainn: I put in a whole bunch of stories about conversations with people I have about both God and about religion. There’s another story in there that I find even more relevant about God, which is this English director, his name was Roger Michel. 

He has since passed away and he had a conversation. When I was working with him in England, he’s like, “Rainn, do you believe in God and spirituality and all that?” I was like, “Yes, yes, I do.” He was like, “Well, I don’t, I certainly don’t.” I was like, “Oh no, Roger, why is that?” 

“Well, every day I was dragged to mass and I had to clean up afterwards and pour the holy water and I had to mop the pews. I was dragged there four days a week and I had to sing and my parents made me go da da da, so I can never believe in God.” 

I just that was so funny. I encountered that story dozens of times a year of people that have religiously traumatized in some way and then equate that with whether or not religion has any truth to it, any merit to it, whether God exists, whether the idea of some divine energy force, cosmic love force pulsating through this universe and the multitude of other omniverses, whether that has anything to do with how you were treated by a child or how your parents acted. I’m skipping around a little bit. I’m going to get to your question, I promise. 

For me to part of my process of individuation in my twenties was I needed to reject the Bahá’í faith of my parents, because inherent in the Baha’i faith of my parents was a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and stuff that I really rebelled against. 

I needed to find my own relationship to Bahá’u’lláh, to a higher power on my own separate from what my parents thought and believed. I think that’s a process that doesn’t happen very often is people, out of necessity let’s set aside what and how I was raised by my culture, by my family, by my cul-de-sac, by my parents, by the people in my village or town, and let me come to my truth on my own, which is an important precept in the Baha’i faith. 

Going specifically to your question, now that I’ve danced around it, is one of the main theses, that sounded dirty, of the book, is that we have perhaps thrown the spiritual baby out with the religious bathwater. We’ve jettisoned, by and large, and I’m saying we, I’m speaking to you from mostly secular blue-state America right now. I don’t know who’s listening to this podcast. You could be in Mongolia or Bolivia, I’m not sure. 

But in secular blue state, liberal secular America, religion has been very much rejected for a lot of really relevant reasons, and we’ve lost the essential beautiful spiritual core of those religious beliefs. A lot of people are still very reactive in their rejectionality, that’s not a word, and are not able to see truth and beauty, and purity at the heart of many religious messages. 

[00:06:57] Eboo: I’m probably one of a handful of people on planet Earth who has read more Rainn Wilson words than has watched Rainn Wilson shows. I love The Office, but I actually love the Bassoon King and Soul Boom more. I was deeply taken by your coming back to the Bahá’í Faith when you were in your twenties in New York. I’m a Chicago-ite, I’m very familiar with New Trier, where you went to high school, and its academic intensity. 

I was in high school in the eighties. I know that story from a similar high school, Glenbrook South, the academic intensity and what it meant to be the Ducky character from the John Hughes movies. The offbeat character who is into arts and theater and intellectual stuff. 

Then you move to New York, you go to acting school, you get involved in all kinds of less than healthy things, and then one day you wake up and you’re like, “You know what, there’s actually this treasure I’m sitting on which is the Bahá’í faith that my parents taught me. It’s actually the reason we moved to Chicago so that my dad could work at the Bahá’ítemple. Maybe there’s something there that I should be living into.” Do you want to say more about that? 

[00:08:06] Rainn: Sure. I’ve been quoting the great writer and thinker Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way. She has a quote somewhere, I don’t even know where it is, that says, “I came to spirituality not out of virtue, but out of necessity.” 

I love that idea because that’s very much true for me. When I jettisoned the Bahá’í faith of my youth, and I just wanted to live a wild bohemian lifestyle in New York City in the late ’80s and through the nineties, I didn’t want anything to do with the religion of my parents. I saw their hypocrisies. I saw the hypocrisy even in the Baha’i community. 

I didn’t want morality hanging over my head. I wanted to have sex with my girlfriend and not feel guilty about it. I didn’t want to think about God and more morality and mortality and the soul and being of service and building community and all of those aspects of the religious work that we do. I jettisoned all that and for a while it worked and it was great and I had a really nice and good life and I was starting to get work as an actor. Which was beyond my wildest dreams. This dorky ducky sub-urban kid moving to the city to be an actor. I was actually finding some work, it wasn’t paying me anything, but I was working. 

I started to realize that I was really actually, in actuality, pretty miserable. When I look at it now, when I look back on it, I realize that this is a lot to do with mental health issues. I was very anxious. I had anxiety attacks. I was depressed. I dealt with addiction stuff. Because I had that foundation of growing up Bahá’í, of appreciating the sanctity and beauty and truth of all of the world’s great religions, I I thought to myself, I felt to myself I had a feeling in my gut that, “Hey, I might have lost something by jettisoning religion so wholeheartedly. 

I started to explore the great faiths of the world. I read many of the great holy books of the world’s religions as I– This is a very long story. This is like a 8 or 10-year story truncated into 17 sentences, but ultimately I came back to the Bahá’í faith. I feel really grateful for those times because they got very dark. There was times I thought about suicide. There was a lot of chaos and confusion. It didn’t make any sense to me, Eboo, why I wasn’t happy. Why was I not happy? 

I was living the life of my dreams. I was being an actor. I was partying. I had great friends. I had a beautiful girlfriend who’s now my wife. Everything was hunky-dory. I had this deep imbalance and chronic dissatisfaction going on inside. I was fortunate enough to be able to attune myself toward a spiritual path and a potential spiritual solution. I won’t say that all of a sudden, I went back into the Bahá’í faith and I felt better, and I got– everything went away, and it was amazing. 

No, it was part of a process then part of a long process involved therapy and meditation and a lot of pondering and personal work along the way, but I’m really grateful for that experience. 

[00:11:42] Eboo: What you experienced as a young adult– In New York, you highlight [unintelligible 00:11:46] the world is going through right now, and particularly a generation is going through. Gen Z, millennials from the polarization crisis to the mental health crisis. In some ways you’re saying, “Hey, listen, religion was a guide and a [unintelligible 00:12:01] for me.” Perhaps you should consider this.” 

[00:12:03] Rainn: Yes, I have a lot to say on that. In some ways, my book is a religion sandwich. They say that when you’re giving a note to an actor that you give a note sandwich and the compliments are the bread. [chuckles] 

It’s a funny joke that’s on a lot of television sets. Like if a director is giving you a note– Let’s say the director wants you to just do everything faster. After a take, the director will come in and be like, “Oh, Eboo, great take. That was so funny when you did the thing. It was so great. I’m loving what you’re doing. This is great. Hey, on this take, maybe just try it faster and just try going through it faster.” Then you end with the bread. “Again, so great. What you’re doing, just awesome. Really great, really great.” 

In a way, my book, I did a little religion sandwich. I talk about television, I talk about spirituality, I talk about death and big spiritual concepts, but really the meat of the book is about religion. I have three chapters on religion itself. I talk about a trip to Jerusalem that I took, and if any listener is listening, and I don’t care if you’re a Zoroastrian or Hindu or indigenous American believer, everyone should go to Jerusalem if able because the idea that so much of world history is contained on the Temple Mount, which is the size of about like five soccer fields, is just preposterous and mind-blowing. It’s incredible from the Wailing Wall to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al-Aqsa Mosque and everything in between the Via Dolorosa, it’s all right there. 

It’s all a couple of frisbee throws away from each other. To me it really illuminated and highlighted a lot of issues around religion and also a lot of beauty around religion. Then I get into the, like I mentioned before, the ten universals of all religious faith. What do all religious faith hold in common? People don’t really talk about that. 

They’ll say like, “Well, Hinduism is polytheistic,” which is kind of true, it’s not exactly true. It’s not– what do I know, but that’s not how I would interpret it. I think there’s many different “polytheistic faiths” are knowing one spiritual reality through a number of different faces and a number of different facets, but some of these elements are some sense of a higher power, life after death, the power of prayer, the building of community, the search for transcendence, the force of love, service to the poor, and finally, a strong sense of purpose. These were ten random ones that came to me. I’m sure you could find easily another 5 or 10 or 20 or more. 

[00:14:59] Eboo: Yes. They’re not quite random. They came out of your mind, but the interesting thing is you read anybody from Mircea Eliade to the Dalai Lama. The lists are very similar, the common aspects of across religious traditions. 

[00:15:13] Rainn: Absolutely. What I do is I propose to build a new religion. I did this in a tongue in cheek way. I proposed Soul Boom, the religion, because I just wanted young people to be thinking about religion in a new way. Like, “Hey, there’s so many positive aspects. Let’s pick and choose stuff that we like from various faith traditions and put it in one jambalaya, one potpourri, one stew. I have a bunch of ideas around that. 

Then I do bring up a quite a bit about the idea of religion being a force for good. What we need in the world right now can be found as crazy as this sounds in religion. Like you said, for so many people, religion is the problem, not the solution, but there actually is a great deal of solution to be found in a religion. 

I’m not proposing anyone go join any specific religion. That’s not what I’m talking about, but when you look at community purpose, service to the poor, transcendence, prayer and meditation, a higher power, this is what contemporary western society is losing. Those are the things, those universals are what we need as a species right now. 


[00:16:32] Eboo: Totally. We’re going to take a short break, and when we return, you’ll see that I have a quibble with Rainn’s call for a spiritual revolution. [silence] 

Rainn, you write about the need for a spiritual revolution in Soul Boom. As I’m reading your book, I’m realizing that what you’re really describing is not so much a revolution, but what I call a more beautiful social order. 

As you know, most revolutions don’t produce peaceful magnanimous leaders like Nelson Mandela, they produce violent dictators like the Ayatollah Khomeini. I’m curious, Rainn, would you consider thinking about the work of awakened spirituality as building a more beautiful social order instead of advancing a revolution? 

[00:17:26] Rainn: Yes, I think that from a Marxist perspective, revolution is necessary. It’s based on economics, it’s violent, and it usually in actuality ends in some kind of authoritarianism. You’re right. That’s a really good way of putting it. 

In essence, I agree with you. I don’t know that I’m going to get people to read the book if I’m saying, why we need a new spiritual, peaceful social order, because we’re working towards the same thing, but the larger point that I’m making is– and in a way you could say the civil rights movement was a civil rights revolution, because we went from Jim Crow in the late forties with mass lynchings to the Civil Rights movement and voting rights bill, and banning of Jim Crow and busing and all of that in a very short amount of time, 15, 16 years. It was a civil rights revolution. 

Did we fix racism? Absolutely not. No, not even close, but if you compare the world from 1948 to 1965, it’s pretty astonishing what happened to the work of all of the folks that worked on that revolution. The reason I use the word “revolution” really has to do with the idea that is my ultimate thesis of the book, which is that the systems that we currently have are broken. 

They’re corrupt and broken at their core. If we continue as a society to tweak them and add Band-Aids, things are never going to get better. They’re going to continue to unravel, and they are unsustainable. The list goes on and on. I list all the broken systems of the world. Here’s an example: jealthcare. Healthcare in the United States is based on profit. 

Right now you have these hedge funds and investment funds buying doctors’ offices– This was just in the New York Times a couple days ago. Buying hospital systems, doctors; offices and medical co-ops and stuff, redlining them, going through and seeing what’s profitable and what’s not, shutting down the ones that aren’t profitable, trying to maximize profit on the ones that are, the ones that are shut down are usually in the poorer neighborhoods. 

Again, the whole system of healthcare is based on profit. You can’t just pass a law saying, “Oh, no more hedge funds are allowed to buy doctors’ offices. There will just be some other way that this corrupt system uses healthcare to try and make money for the haves and take it away from the have-nots. I’m not even suggesting some Marxist socialism. 

What I’m suggesting is a complete and total reevaluation of what a healthcare system is there for. It’s there to heal the sick and to do it in an effective way. That’s what’s important, the compassion for the poor and the sick and to provide healing and not profit. 

We in America talk about fixing the healthcare system, a universal healthcare system, more government-mandated healthcare, this and that, and cooperative healthcare, et cetera. Passing some bills on the big pharmaceutical companies, but we’re not having a conversation about what’s the purpose of healthcare. 

[00:20:54] Eboo: What’s the orientation behind it? 

[00:20:56] Rainn: What does the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings and foundationally of what a healthcare system should do? A revolution is saying, “Let’s stop trying to throw Band-Aids on something like healthcare.” You could go on to education, you can go on to the military, nationalism. Any agriculture, climate change really is an issue that is a spiritual issue as much as anything else. It’s not just about limiting CO2 and having lighter airplanes or something like that. That’s part of it. It’s a valuable small part of it, but it really is a whole cloth reevaluation. 

To me, the idea of a revolution is to inspire young folks, Office fans, to think about spiritual tools in an entirely new way as not some namby-pamby, loving little get-together where you share a Hindu prayer and I share a Bahai prayer, and we hold hands and sing kumbaya. We can take these spiritual ideas, and we can transform ourselves, and we can, and need to transform society. 

[00:22:02] Eboo: I totally get that. It’s a shift in paradigm and orientation. Out of that shift in paradigm, there’s a great quote by Emerson is something along the lines of the idea of a civilization carries a train of cities and institutions in its wake. You’re basically saying, “Listen, our orientation cannot just be pleasure and profit. There are other purposes in life, right?” 

[00:22:24] Rainn: Yes. 

[00:22:25] Eboo: As the orientation shifts, you get new systems and institutions. Incidentally, this is one of the things I love about religion. I’ll use the specific example of the Mayo Clinic. 

The Mayo Clinic was founded as an interfaith partnership between an agnostic family of doctors, the Mayo family, and the Sisters of St. Francis Catholic Sisters in Rochester, New York. As precisely on what you’re saying, Rainn, which is healthcare should not be about profit. It should be about the healing of the whole human being. It should be at the highest quality all the time. You should not be paying for ad hoc services. You should be treated by a team of expert healthcare practitioners with a spiritual orientation again, Sisters of St. Francis who are looking at the whole self. 

It’s not just an idea, it’s an actual institution. It’s one of the things I love about religion is that it builds institutions. I loved the chapter on pilgrimage so much, Rainn. I’ll tell you why, because you have that hilarious beginning of Lambeau Field, and I’m a Chicagoan. You grew up in Chicago, so you knew how that was going to feel to a Chicagoan. Who might think of Soldier Field as a pilgrimage site? 

Then you go to the pilgrimage site of the Bahai faith and how the sacredness, the beauty, the energy you and your family felt being there, and then you widen the lens, and you’re like, “Hey, listen, there are pilgrimage sites for all religions, and by the way, there are religions which view every inch of earth as a pilgrimage site.” 

What I love about that is it’s a little bit like small c catholic and large C Catholics. Large C Catholic is fidelity to a particular path, belief in a particular church, small c catholic is universal. You’re doing the same thing here. You’re like, “I’m a large B Bahai. I believe in this path, and I fidelity to its teachings, and I recognize the beauty and holiness and spirituality of a range of paths.” 

What I’m really interested in is the illumination of all of that and the cooperation between those. You quote from the Japanese haiku master Basho and his pilgrimage process. What did it feel like to write that chapter because reading it felt like a pilgrimage in itself? 

[00:24:49] Rainn: Well, I just happen to have that section open here, and I would love to read a little bit from the book. 

[00:24:56] Eboo: Please. 

[00:24:57] Rainn: I’m glad you underlined that because that’s a very special chapter for me. When I went on a Bahai Holy Pilgrimage to the Bahai Holy Land in Haifa, Israel, it was a transformative experience and deeply, deeply moving. 

I really wrestled with and struggled with coming back to Los Angeles and finding little to no sacredness or holiness in my daily life and routine. I thought this is not how it should be. I started excavating this idea of sacred pilgrimages, sacredness, and holiness, and I brought up Basho. 

I say from the book roughly 300 years ago, there was another Pilgrim Basho, the famous poet from Japan. Some consider him the greatest author of haiku in history. In his moving, sumptuous work, The Narrow Road to the Interior, Basho wandered on foot hundreds of miles into various sacred temples and sites around medieval Japan in a state of spiritual and artistic contemplation. 

He famously said, “Real poetry is to lead a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.” He also said, “The journey itself is my home.” What was his journey? He walked for dozens of miles every day on his poetic pilgrimage, journaling, noticing the specific details of the beauty of the natural world around him, the changes of the seasons, and the sound of the breeze and the cottonwood trees. 

His day would end at a holy place, a crossing, a bridge, a harbor, a grave site, a temple, or a monastery. Then Basho would begin his craft. He would compose a poem based on his travels, inspired by his personal life, wisdom, and experience, informed by his quote observations on the trail and in the forest, and devoted specifically to the sacred spot he was visiting on that particular day. He would then leave the poem behind him as an offering, a gift. 

For Basho as with many Native Americans, there was no delineation between what was holy, what was of nature, what was of art, and what was of religion. He wrote, “The temple bell stops, but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.” Words like that could have easily been spoken by Black Elk or Luther Standing Bear. Nature, poetry, shrines, pilgrimages, God, art, spirituality, life. It’s all part of the circle of the sacred and profound in the universe of Basho. Tcich Nhat Hahn said, “In the sunlight of awareness, everything becomes sacred.” 

I’m glad you highlighted that section because that’s the life I want. That’s the life I want for myself, for my son Walter, for my wife, for my community, for all of us Americans, for all of us humans on the earth. We’re all on a journey. There’s an integration between art, service, life, nature, spirituality, and religion. It’s all integrated seamlessly where because it is all divine, it is all seeking transcendence. How do we find that in our lives? How do we put that in our lives? 

Obviously, what is sacred is not necessarily a shrine. It can be an act, it can be Abdul Baha, the son of the prophet founder of the Bahai Faith, Bahá’u’lláh, says, “Strive day by day that your actions may be beautiful prayers.” I love that idea that my actions are beautiful prayers and the connection between nature and sacred and holiness. I don’t provide any answers. I just think it’s a conversation that we can all be having. 

I would urge all of those hundreds or thousands of kids in these colleges doing your work in interfaith America to have that discussion about how do we find the sacred nurture, the sacred, what is sacred? What is holy? How do we bring that into the fore and in the modern world? 

[00:29:16] Eboo: Thank you, Rainn. I’m going to ask you one last question, which is a bookend to where we began. 

We began with the skepticism that folks in much of blue America, particularly Hollywood, have with regards to religion. It’s you know the bad more than you know the good. Part of the theme of season two for the Interfaith America Podcast is exploring religion and interfaith across sectors. We began with the problem, which is skepticism, and leading with the bad. Let’s end with the solution. 

What is a day where there are a dozen, two dozen, three dozen major movies a year or a couple of dozen major high-level TV series a year and a Netflix or Amazon Prime that take the theme that you just spoke about. Your actions are beautiful prayers. Basho traveling and seeing the holiness in everything, even while being anchored in his own. Can you see a day where Hollywood scriptwriters and actors are really living into that and leading this revolution of orientation of which Spirit is the new anchor and not profit? 

[00:30:28] Rainn: No [laughs]. 

[00:30:31] Eboo: Come on let’s dream a little here. 

[00:30:35] Rainn: Here’s the problem. Going back to one of the broken systems, and I’m not going to end in a downer, I promise you. 

Going back to the broken systems, one of the most– the most broken system in contemporary America is our partisan political system. What’s happened is because so many fundamentalists have used fundamentalist thought and judgment as a a weapon on a number of social issues, then the liberal part of America has reacted to that and equated evangelicalism, fundamentalism with religion, and then equated then religion with reactionary, right-wing policy, right? 

I’m not going to get into a whole political debate about it, but that’s just what happened. Everything has become politicized. COVID became politicized, right? The list goes on and on. Guns are politicized. I think some more work needs to be done by folks in Hollywood to understand that religion and even healthy fundamentalism, which I would call orthodoxy, isn’t necessarily something that has to be harnessed and used as a political weapon. 

There has to be a little bit more healthy skepticism and dismantling of the American partisan political system before we go there. That being said, I think that voices of moderate Hollywood need to speak up a little bit more. 

I recently tweeted about a show, The Last of Us, where there was a Christian minister giving a sermon in this post-apocalyptic landscape. Immediately, I was like, “Oh, he’s evil.” Not only that, not only was he evil, he was a cannibalistic pedophile. He was like as evil as you can get. I knew it in half a second because I know Hollywood, and I know that if they’re going to set up a preacher at the beginning, that he’s going to be evil. 

I tweeted about it, and I caught a big backlash from the political left. I was really put on a pedestal by the political right, even though the political right had just been attacking me a month previous for speaking out about climate change. 

Many people called and thanked me in Hollywood, Christians in Hollywood and moderates in Hollywood like, “Thank you for saying that.” They didn’t speak up. I was interesting. I said to so many Christian friends, I’m like, “Why didn’t you say something? Why do you leave it to the Baha’i? Why is it up to the Baha’i to defend the Christians in Hollywood? What are you doing?” 

Ultimately, I believe that– and my experience is, and let’s just take The Office, most of the people in the office were churchgoers, beautiful Christians, loving hearts, want to make the world a better place, want to find peace, grace, want to serve others. They don’t trumpet that. They don’t lead with that. That’s the reality. 

I hope that those voices will speak out about just telling stories with people having spiritual struggle, people who have a beautiful faith and want to do the right thing and serve others and love other people. I truly hope that those voices will start to rise and tell those stories because that’s the reality of America today. Most religious people are kind, good-tempered, good-hearted people that just want the world to be a better place and want to bring increased love to the world. 

[00:34:18] Eboo: That, Rainn Wilson, is the perfect place to leave this podcast. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for being so generous to offer some of that spirit with me and the team of the Interfaith America Podcast today. 

[00:34:31] Rainn: Thank you, IEboo. Thanks, everyone over there. Bless you all. I love it so happy to be a part of it. 


[00:34:40] Eboo: Now I ask, how will you, like our friend Rainn Wilson, connect your particular faith or spirituality to the work of building a healthy pluralism where everyone’s faith and spirituality can flourish? 

To read more about this conversation and to find resources and stories about bridge building and our religiously diverse democracy, visit our website, I’m Eboo Patel. 


Intro/outro music provided by Mysterylab Music and composed by Mott Jordan.

Credit music provided by Die Hard Productions.

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